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Berta Hummel
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Artist
    (May 21, 1909-November 6, 1946)
    Born in Massing, Bavaria, Germany
    Best known as the creator of the popular Hummel figurines
    Later known by her religious name of Sister Maria Innocentia Hummel, O.S.F
    Admitted as a novice and received the religious habit of the Congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of Siessen (Sießen), in Bad Saulgau (August 1931)
    Taught at the Congregation's school, frequently drawing portraits of the children and their parents
    Work was released initially, in postcard form, by the Emil Fink Verlag publishing house in Stuttgart
    Collection of her drawings, 'Das Hummel-Buch' ('The Hummel Book), with poetic text by Margarete Seemann, was published in 1934
    Most notable work may be her drawings of 'The Way of the Cross' or 'The Stations of the Cross' completed in the 1940s
    Work has been showcased in Museums in Illinois, Texas and Massing, Germany
    She was a tomboy as a child.
    Some 700 of her sketches are known to have existed but are probably lost forever.
    Her museum in Massing showcases nude drawings she had done before entering the convent (albeit tastefully done).
    Her work has been frequently confused with the Dresden Shepherd china figurines which became popular in the 19th Century.
    She became known as the namesake for the iconic 'Hummel figurines,' but she had very little to do with the marketing and was reluctant to sell the rights to her designs.
    The Hummel figurines are more famous as ceramic statuette decorations but she had nothing to do with the actual crafting of the figurines (the sole rights were contracted out to a porcelain company to do it).
    Like Margaret Wise Brown and Beatrix Potter, she tended to relate better to children and animals than adults (she sketched them during her free time at the convent).
    Her figurines have been wildly valuable collectors items ever since Goebel Germany discontinued her work in October, 2008.
    She was known for her sunny disposition and love of children.
    Her figurines gained popularity with returning American soldiers post-WWII.
    She consented to sell the rights to her designs because it saved the employment of countless workers.
    Her work sustained the Seissan Convent financially, both when she was alive and for decades to come.
    She drew the ire of Hitler by mocking the Nazi Youth and 'Brown Shirts' with her drawings, most famously with one titled 'The Volunteers' with a caption reading 'Dear Fatherland, let there be Peace!'
    Her art's distribution was banned by the Third Reich, who denounced her work as 'corrupting the youth' (yeah, really).
    She also subtly defied the Nazis' anti-Semitic policies by incorporating the Star of David, Menorahs, and other hidden Old/New Testament symbols into her drawings of children.
    At the outbreak of WWII, the Nazis seized the Siessan convent, closing it down along with its school, allowing only 40 of the 250 sisters to remain, and even then confined to a small ill-furnished section of the convent.
    She was allowed to return home but missed the convent so badly that she asked for permission to return to endure the squalid conditions with the other sisters.
    She was confined to a cell that doubled as her studio, with little food and no utilities or heat. The Nazis allowed her to continue her sketching, but they took half of the money she made from them.
    She survived the war to be liberated by the Americans, but the conditions of her treatment by the Nazis so affected her health that she died shortly thereafter in a sanitarium (Nov. 6, 1946).
    Her work was instrumental in promoting a positive and soft image of the German people to the world, contrasting with the hatred and cruelty that was seen from the Nazis.

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair


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